Electric Machine Guns, Coilguns and Death Ray Guns of Yesteryear

Some things the past presents us with are not in the traditional textbooks. One of those things is the 1845 "Siva" Electric Machine gun. The "successful" machine gun history (per the narrative) started in 1862 and goes like this:
  • The first successful machine-gun designs were developed in the mid-19th century. The key characteristic of modern machine guns, their relatively high rate of fire and more importantly mechanical loading, first appeared in the Model 1862 Gatling gun, which was adopted by the United States Navy. These weapons were still powered by hand; however, this changed with Hiram Maxim's idea of harnessing recoil energy to power reloading in his Maxim machine gun. Dr. Gatling also experimented with electric-motor-powered models; this externally powered machine reloading has seen use in modern weapons as well.
  • Machine gun - Wikipedia
  • Check out this list of the machine guns. Sure it is most likely not the most complete one, but... does it matter which list we examine?
This "successful" injection allows for a lot of speculative opinions, but we are not really presented with those, aren't we? Well, let's take a look at some of the "unsuccessful" machine gun designs of the past.

1845 Electric Machine Gun

June 21, 1845 Illustrated London News + 1


Mechanics Magazine, 1845
Compare the above description to the one below. Close, but not quite the same, isn't it? Would be nice to know where this difference could be attributed to.

I would like to know who this Beningfield was, and what happened to his machine gun. Funny, but apparently we have no clue how this weapon worked.
  • Beningfield’s stubbornness ultimately meant that, despite impressing every official who saw the Siva in action, the device was destined to failure. To this day it is not exactly known how the Siva operated, but gunsmith and firearms expert William Greener, who was generally dismissive of the weapon, wrote in 1846 that the Siva probably generated propulsive gases through the decomposition of water via galvanic batteries.
  • The Siva was demonstrated by Beningfield before the Ordnance Committee in 1845, rapidly firing lead balls down a 35-yard range. All those who saw it were amazed and puzzled by the weapon, including Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington. After a wholly successful demonstration, the Ordnance Committee officials approached Beningfield about the workings of his weapon, but he was reluctant to co-operate with them, refusing to allow anyone to inspect the weapon. He never told anyone how it worked, other than saying that it used electricity. He never even patented the design, because this would require him to describe the workings of the weapon in detail.
  • Source
The 19th century is hard to dig though, but there appears to have been at least several machine gun designs using electricity (in some capacity). Here is one of those.


The Electrician, 1883

1854 Electric Rifle
I did not find the actual publication, but a small excerpt from the Family Herald, Volume 12 for 1854 says it all. What did really they fight the Civil War with?

1866 Electric Rifle



The Le Baron & Delmas rifle was patented in 1866. It was built as a physical prototype and demonstrated in tests but failed to receive any funding, and thus languished as a concept.
  • The rifle was chambered for specially-designed magnetic cartridges. Housed in the weapon's stock was a potassium-ion battery connected to an induction coil. The coil led to the chamber and upon pulling the trigger, the battery would generate an electrical charge which would travel up the coil and ignite the chambered bullet. The system was innovative but did not seem to offer any direct advantage over a conventional hammer or striker, and was decidedly more expensive and technically complex to produce.
Early 20th Century
It would be naive to suggest that there was no additional research and development directed at the use of electricity as it pertains to the 19th century electric machine guns. Meanwhile we move into the 20th century, and what do we see? Yup, more electric machine guns.

And while the principle changes, and these are more commonly known as "coilguns" ... are we aware of their use in WW2, for example? On these ones, wikipedia did a bit better, for we have a few lines. So, if you need some additional info, you will need to look for other sources.

Wikipedia Coilguns:
  • The first operational coilgun was developed and patented by Norwegian scientist Kristian Birkeland in 1904.
  • In 1933, Texan inventor Virgil Rigsby developed a stationary coilgun that was designed to be used like a machine gun. It was powered by a large electrical motor and generator. It appeared in many contemporary science publications, but never piqued the interest of any armed forces.
The scale of Birkeland's research enterprises was such that funding became an overwhelming obstacle. Recognizing that technological invention could bring wealth, he developed an electromagnetic cannon and, with some investors, formed a firearms company. The coil-gun worked, except the high muzzle velocities he predicted (600 m/s) were not produced. The most he could get from his largest machine was 100 m/s, corresponding to a disappointing projectile range of only 1 km. So he renamed the device an aerial torpedo and arranged a demonstration with the express aim of selling the company. At the demonstration, one of the coils shorted and produced a sensational inductive arc complete with noise, flame, and smoke. This was the first failure of any of the launchers that Birkeland had built. It could easily have been repaired and another demonstration organized.


Technically, the above would be a 1901 invention, but the patent US754637A was granted in 1904.

This here is supposed to be a work of fiction. The history of the TASER ECD dates back as far as 1911 during the publication of the 'Tom Swift' adventure stories.





Death Ray Guns
As usually, we have this "theoretical" escape route the narrative tries to use. Here is the official position on Death Ray Guns we are presented with:
  • The death ray or death beam was a theoretical particle beam or electromagnetic weapon first theorized around the 1920s and 1930s. Around that time, notable inventors such as Guglielmo Marconi, Nikola Tesla, Harry Grindell Matthews, Edwin R. Scott, Graichen and others claimed to have invented it independently. In 1957, the National Inventors Council was still issuing lists of needed military inventions that included a death ray.
  • While based in fiction, research into energy-based weapons inspired by past speculation has contributed to real-life weapons in use by modern militaries sometimes called a sort of "death ray", such as the United States Navy and its Laser Weapon System (LaWS) deployed in mid-2014. Such armaments are technically known as directed-energy weapons.
In other words, the stuff is desperately needed, but we (or rather them) do not have it. But... is it really so, and how do we verify that those allegedly working examples were false claims? These are primarily 1930s, but where did it they come from?


death_ray 3.jpg




death_ray 2.jpg



Harry Grindell Matthews. In 1924 his 'Death Ray'
was publicly tested in London.


1925 photo that purports to show a demonstration of the ray on the island of Flat Holm.
1925 death ray.jpg

Ku-Go. Japan’s top-secret weapon inspired by Tesla’s “Death Ray”.




KD: These are just a few of the examples available on the internet. We are supposed to believe that none of the above stuff was successful, does not exist and is only possible within the limits of some science fiction movies. Meanwhile, California's Paradise was destroyed by a camp fire, right?

Do we really know what weapons TPTB really have in their possession? Do we have the slightest idea?

The part which I'm personally most interested in boils down to the origins of this technology. Where did it come from, and when was it really developed?

Want a Toy?

1958 Chicago Commando Machine Gun
Commando Machine Gun Gallery, Chicago Coin, 1958, self contained electrically operated coin operated machine guns, large and comes in banks of three to fifteen guns, shoots steel balls, adjustable from 130 to 525 shots per play, gun is really big, large shooting gallery type device. For three guns it takes 9 feet of counter space, for ten guns over 22 feet, and for 15 guns 33 feet. Also available in a four gun trailer set up for carnivals.

There are too many in the article to compare. I’ve never seen any of these anyways, but as far as I understand, like a 240 mm Howitzer to a sling shot.
We definitely be David in all this...

Since we can't buy ammo nowadays, do you recommend such sling shots?

All the wars are such "real" hoaxes. The Nazis had death rays; the British used them on Dresden, but we still had millions marching to Pretoria or Moscow or wherever. Must be amusing to the PTB.
It’s better than nothing, but if other options are available, I’d get something else.

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